A Quinceanera is a coming-of-age celebration in which a teenage girl renews her baptismal vow and is introduced to her parents as a young woman; the term often applies to a young girl who is being honored.
A conventional celebration of the Quinceanera occurs during the girl’s 15th birthday with a party and a prayer, the latter being a declaration of the Quinceanera to God and a vow to worship herself and her faith. (Proverbs 31:30) “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
Unlike baptism or affirmation, the Mass of the Quinceanera is not a Catholic sacrament.
However, it is a major cultural practice within the Hispanic culture that reaffirms the girl’s devotion to her religion.
At the Quinceanera Mass, the young girl accepts Holy Communion, makes an action of consecration to the Virgin Mary, offers a bouquet of flowers to the Virgin Mary, and accepts presents blessed by the priest, such as a crown, a tiara, or a necklace.
Similar to other sacraments, various symbolic components reflect the rite of Quinceaner’s passage from childhood to womanhood.
(1 Corinthians 13:11) “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
The Bible, the tiara, the crown, the bouquets, and the persons surrounding it bear symbolic importance during the religious ceremony.
The ceremony aims to mark the transition of a girl from childhood to young adulthood and officially delegate her a new social role in the society.
Today there are different ways to celebrate the Quinceañera. While the meaning has not shifted, the Church plays a significant part in the celebration in several Central American countries, as well as in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Nowadays, the purpose of celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of a young lady is to thank God for all the blessings that the family has got. Below are lists of objects traditionally provided by the court of Quinceañera during the ceremony:
Bible: It is advised that the Bible be decorated in satin, lace, linen, taffeta, etc. It is the first thing to be offered to the young lady at the ceremony, as the priest or pastor suggests it. He’s going to learn about the significance of the word of God in the life of Quinceañera.
Bouquet: The flowers will be the same color as the Quinceañera gown. She’s going to put the bouquet at the altar as an offering, while her parents meets her at the altar.
Tiara: It’s the crown that the young lady carries to show she’s the bride, the daughter of Heaven.
Three Roses: one closed circle, one-half open, one open. They reflect her birth, birth, and current generation, respectively. Each flower can receive special attention during a religious event, while this practice may also be done at the reception.
Quince Shoes: The flats should be white, if possible, and the heels must match the color of the gown. The father or the special guest of honor helps the young lady to adjust her shoes. This tradition is observed both in the Church and at the reception.
Watch: She’s got to put it on her left side. It shows the time devoted to God, and it also acts as a reminder that God is coming and that he must be prepared. In other countries, though, the godparents send this gift to the Quinceañera during the celebration.
Cross or ring: should have a stone or a diamond of its choosing. The ring represents God’s love’s eternal sphere and must be worn on the ring finger of the right hand. When the ring is being given, the Quinceañera will read a verse or start singing about the promise made to God. The cross is the sign of faith in Christianity.
Doll: Often, a doll is dressed as a Quinceañera and offered to a younger child. It is a sign of childhood closeness. This is the last doll to be offered during the event.
Candle: it has to be an 18-inch candle and must be adorned with ribbons and roses to complement the gown. This candle is the illumination provided for the children by their parents. At this time, the mother moves with the candle to the altar after the Quinceañera had given the bouquet of roses, then both parents greet the young lady at the altar. They both ignite the candle and put it on the candlestick. The Quinceañera then pray – thanking God for the new position she is about to emerge.
Preparing for the Abundance of Quinceañera
The criteria for the preparation courses differ from parish to parish. Still, much of the time, it is important for the girl to be baptized, undergo her first Communion, and be admitted or complete her confirmation class.
Certain classes are planned for both Quinceanera and her guardians.
While most preparatory classes are weekly courses lasting a few months, some parishes offer lengthy year-long classes while some need only one-time seminars. If all the conditions have been met, the date of the mass will be fixed, and the first preparation steps, such as the creation of the Quinceanera Court of Honour, will begin.
Choosing the Court of Padrinos and Quinceanera
Usually, the padrinos are selected to be a happy married couple who will preferably act as parents to the young girl. Their main task is to help hold the young girl on the road of faith.
The Chambelan of Honour is a young man selected to be the date of Quinceanera for the day. His position is significant because he exemplifies the girl’s first male partner as a young lady. The older brother, cousin, or acquaintance of the beloved often takes on the role of a chambelan.
It is up to the Quinceanera to determine if she wishes to be followed by a chamberlain and whether she needs Quinceanera court after all.
The History of the Mass of Catholic Quinceaneras
On the day of celebration, accompanied by her parents or guardians, the Quinceanera leads the way to the altar, led by her padrinos, the Chambelan, and the court of honor.
The priest welcomes the Quinceanera at the altar, where she has been given a specified chair.
In comparison to the traditional Sunday Mass, where biblical teachings are made to the whole congregation, but in the Quincean Mass, reading is often performed specifically to the celebrated.
The themes can either be the everlasting love of God, being a powerful woman, and staying faithful to her faith despite all adversity.
Symbolisms of the Quincean Mass
Typically after the first Gospel, the priest blesses Quinceanera’s typical features and points to the Bible and the Rosary as a symbol of the true Word of God.
Below is a brief of the elements:
A crown or tiara, reflecting how God sees the Quincean – a princess, and a daughter.
(Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
A real bouquet has given to the Virgin Mary (the Quinceanera holds an artificial bouquet)
The Bible and the Rosary is the pillars of her faith.
Band, symbolizing God’s eternal devotion
Nowadays, the most common occurrence to be conducted after the mass is a photoshoot. Before the dinner, the Quinceanera and her court will go to a cool spot for a “candid” photo session (if she has one).
A quinceanera, also recognized as a quince, is a very popular occurrence for families celebrating their daughter’s fifteenth birthday. While some contemporary festivities are secular, Quinceanera’s bulk is still religious in nature, much as they were embedded in the Latin tradition. Using the Bible verses on the invitation is smart to set a religious mood for the whole activity.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
The Psalmist urges us to place God first and to trust Him to meet our needs. This is an amazing message for everyone, but particularly for those who are just entering adulthood.
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.”
The passage begins in the same manner – praying unto God, asking for help in following Him and resolving to obey Him.
Philippians 4:13 (KJV)
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
This declaration is not only a good reminder; it is an excellent slogan for life. Encourage the birthday girl to fulfill her goals by believing the Lord.
According to the tradition, the first dance of the quinceañera is with her dad. It’s typically the father’s favorite song that suite the event. Traditionally, it also symbolizes the first public dance of a child. After that, the father will hand the quinceañera over to her train.
Waltz, an elegant, choreographed dance done by the birthday girl and her train, is one of the most famous traditions of the quinceañera. If this is also the very first dance of the ceremony, the quinceañera will have her dad as her partner. It may also take months of planning and several rehearsals to train her train for a choreographed dance. And some families have opted to hire a professional dance choreographer to lead the group.
The Parents’ Responsibilities
This unique father-daughter dance reflects her transformation to womanhood and emphasizes her father’s importance as the first man in her life. Yet parents also have other important roles to play.
Another normal tradition is the change of shoes. In this rite, one of the parents would take the flat shoes of the quinceañera and substitute them with fashionable heels. This will be the first pair of heels of the child, reflecting her growth and maturity. At the end of the day, the parents will give their daughter a toast, always highlighting her achievements and values.
And, of course, we can’t forget one of the parents’ most important roles—paying for the celebration. However, this often doesn’t fall entirely on the shoulders of the mom and dad. Traditionally, the quinceañera will be supported at least partially by others, as we will find out next.
Most quinceañeras include a candle-lighting ritual in their festivities. This can be a very touching ritual, as a birthday girl takes some time to honor people who have been extremely significant to her life.
The quinceañera itself chooses 15 people, including her parents, siblings, other family members, and friends. Some girls choose their 14 ladies and one extra person, like their mother. She dedicates a candle to each of them during the service.
The DJ will call the members individually and maybe play a beautiful song as the quinceañera offers a candle to each of them. As she shows the candle, she will also give a prepared speech about how they were important to her and helped her achieve maturity. However, some ladies prefer to do the contrary and have preferred people to say more about the quinceañera.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11